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Politics and Religion

Bloggers have some Old Testament retribution for Barack Obama after a speech he gave advocating the fusion of liberal politics with religion. But their real wrath is reserved for James Dobson’s most recent fulminations against gay marriage. The winner today, believe it or not, is Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Ill., for suggesting a tax on pimps and hookers.

Politics and religion: Sen. Barack Obama drew fire from liberal quarters after a speech he delivered at a conference of Call to Renewal, a religious group that aims to reduce poverty in America. Obama called for Democrats to embrace religious rhetoric from public platforms, and for the party to lighten up about school prayer and other faith-based issues.

Michelle Murrain at the lefty Pearlbear’s Blog has hosannas for Obama: “In the end, I think that this is very positive. He is right, most people in this country have some sort of faith, and Republicans have exploited this to forward thier basically immoral agenda. He’s not saying, and I’m not saying that we need to do the same. What he is saying, and I agree, is that politics and religion do mix, and we (that is, progressives) ignore that at our own peril.”

Card-carrying Democrat Jack Cluth at The People’s Republic of Seabrook is with the Illinois senator, up to a point: “I would agree with Obama that Democrats need to reach out to the Evangelical community, but let’s not be stupid about it. Let’s not compromise our principles and our beliefs in the basic humanity of ALL Americans in a cheap, transparent effort to woo a few more votes come November.”

Howevever, Dr. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, thinks Obama offers “secularism with a smile,” that he “seems to believe in the myth of a universal reason and rationality that will be compelling to all persons of all faiths, including those of no faith at all. Such principles do not exist in any specific form usable for the making of public policy on, for example, matters of life and death like abortion and human embryo research.”

Responding to a dismissive surmise of the speech by popular liberal Atrios, the Faithful Progressive writes: “What nonsense! Obama’s speech was far more critical of the cynical use of religion by the religious right than an attack on Democrats. The media (the dreaded MSM) utterly failed to report this part of the speech, and the liberal blogs such as Atrios totally buy in to this unfair take and do their work for them.”

Read more about Obama’s speech.

What gay media? James Dobson, head of the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family, has written an editorial for in which he chastises Congress for failing to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Dobson claims that elected representatives—and the mainstream media—are cynical hypocrites, in light of the passage of such “sanctity of marriage” laws at the state level. But bloggers argue that it’s Dobson who’s out of touch.

Gay conservative Andrew Sullivan tweaks some of Dobson’s history on domesticity: “For well over a century, the United States lived with different state laws on civil marriage. Many of Dobson’s fundamentalist preachers were as certain then that black-white marriages were as alien to God’s will as they believe same-sex marriage is today. There was no ‘utter chaos.’ “

Frederick Maryland at the lefty Demagogue is having none of it: “The ‘poll’ that Dobson says the media should have played up before the Senate vote was the decision by Alabama voters to approve a ban on same-sex marriage. A vote in Alabama is supposed to trump national polls? But here’s the knockout blow to Dobson’s argument that voters are deeply interested in this issue. According to the Pew poll, even conservative subgroups don’t seem to view the gay-marriage issue as a priority.”

Chuck at The Right State agrees with Dobson that Congress does betray the vocal majority. As to the group of senators cited by Dobson who were responsible for squelching the Defense of Marriage Amendment, he comments: “The list includes RINOs (Republican In Name Only) such as Chafee, Snowe, Gregg, and the media whore maverick, John McCain. It is because of these Senators that the decision of what defines a marriage does not belong to the people where it belongs, but instead is in the hands of a few radical liberal unelected judges. I hope the American people will hold these Senators responsible for their votes, though I will not hold my breath.”

Read more about Dobson’s plaint.

Death, hos, and taxes. Spare the “it’s hard out here” quips, please. Sen. Charles Grassley has proposed to tax pimps and prostitutes and then jail them when they refuse to pony up. The broader scheme is to clamp down on sex slavery, particularly the underage variety.

San Francisco lawyer “AngryBell” at The Wandering Bell doesn’t forget the details: “[A]s someone … pointed out, prostitutes really seem to be independent contractors. And therefore, they should receive a 1099 and not a W-2 form.” “Why do we have a sinking feeling that this is going to end up costing more than it brings in?” asks Daniel Freedman of the neoconservative New York Sun blog It Shines For All. Conservative James Joyner at Outside the Beltway thinks the legislation is a half-measure: “If governments actually cared about the victims of sex trafficking, the logical thing to do would be to legalize and regulate prostitution. … Abuse would go down, disease incidences would go down, and child trafficking would go down.”

Though who better to consult on this issue than the pimp himself? “Hear that … you better register dem ho’s.”

Read more about the pimp tax.